Driving in Scotland

Driving in Scotland can be an amazing experience and a great way to explore the beautiful places around the country.

We would recommend you familiarise yourself with the Scottish driving laws and regulations before you get going on the open roads in Scotland.

What licence do I need to drive in Scotland?

European Union countries – you can drive any type of vehicle listed on your license in Scotland, as long as your EU Driving License in still valid.

Outside of EU countries - you can drive any small vehicle (eg motorcycle, car) in Scotland for up to 12 months, as long as your Driving License is still valid.

Insurance and Registration information

If you decide to bring your own car with you, you will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Vehicle registration or ownership documents. You will need to have those with you at all times
  • Make sure your vehicle is insured – every driver on the road in Scotland must have at least third-party insurance cover
  • If you're going to be here for more than six months (during a 12 month period), you'll need to be aware of rules on number plates that have symbols not used in the UK.

Speed Limit

Speed limits are usually signposted. You should look out for a circular sign with a red border and number.  Speed is always calculated in miles in Scotland. If there is no signpost, national speed limits will apply and these depend on the type of road. Please see below for more information.

Motorways

  • 70 mph (112 km/h) for cars
  • 60 mph (96 km/h) for cars towing caravans or trailers

Dual Carriageways

  • 70 mph (112 km/h) for cars
  • 60 mph (96 km/h) for cars towing caravans or trailers

Built-up areas

  • 30 mph (48 km/h)
  • Be aware though, it's quite common around residential areas and particularly near schools, for a clearly signposted 20 mph (32 km/h) maximum speed limit.

Outside built-up areas

  • 60 mph (96 km/h) for cars
  • 50 mph (80 km/h) for cars towing caravans or trailers.

Please note: Always drive on the left hand side of the road.

Drink Drive Limit

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence and can be heavy penalised if above the legal blood/alcohol limit.

The legal limit is 50 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood or 22 mcg of alcohol in 100 m of breath. The law has been in force since December 2014.

Useful tips and other rules

  1. Please remember you and all passengers must wear seat-belts at all times
  2. It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving
  3. Children, who are under 12 or under 135 cm tall must use a child seat appropriately chosen to their weight
  4. You may encounter some farm animals or wildlife on rural roads
  5. Roundabouts are very common in Scotland – remember to always give way to the vehicles on your right and turn left when entering the roundabout
  6. There are no toll roads or toll bridges in Scotland
  7. Some rural roads are single lane, but have passing places so traffic in opposite directions can pass safely or the driver behind can overtake
  8. Rush hours are generally between 7:30-9:30 am and 4-6:30 pm. Roads tend to be busier around towns and cities during the rush hour.
  9. Most of cities use bus lanes – those can only be used by buses and taxis when in operation at certain times of the day.

For more information please visit the Government website